Ashta Lakshmi Temple, Chennai

About The Temple

The Astha Lakshmi temple is located near the beach of the Besant Nagar area in Chennai, Tamilnadu, on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. The temple was built in 1974 by the devotees under the able leadership of an erudite scholar named Mukkur Srinivasa Vardacahriyar, and as per the wishes of Sri Chandrashekharendra Saraswati of the Kanchi Mutt. The temple was consecrated in 1976.

Influence on religion and culture

The temple is visited by hundreds of devotees every year. The goddess resides in her eight different forms in the Ashtalakshmi Temple Chennai which attract devotees to come and worship her in eight forms. The devotees believe that the Goddess can bless them with the eight different forms of wealth or the eight different forms of achievements when they come here to worship her. The eight forms are Adhilakshmi, Dhanyalakshmi, Dahiryalakshmi, Gajalakshmi, Vidyalakshmi, Vijayalakshmi, Santhanalakhmi and Dhanalakshmi. The eight types of wealth which are related to these forms are courage, wealth, food, prosperity, success, knowledge, offspring and bravery. The people pray to Mahalakshmi and Mahavishnu so that they are blessed with the capability to achieve all eight wealth.

The presiding deity

The presiding deities of the temple are Mahalakshmi with Mahavishnu whose shrines are situated on the second floor of the temple. Though the temple is dedicated to Mahalakshmi exclusively, Lord Mahavishnu also gets a pride of place in the temple, as he is her consort. The eight forms of Mahalakshmi are spread over the three other floors. Worship has to start with the main shrine and then carried out before the other eight shrines of Mahalakshmi depicting the eight different forms.

Details of idols

There are nine different shrines in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple dedicated to Mahalakshmi. They are built in tiers in such a way that all the eight forms are visible from any single spot. There are four levels or floors and separate sanctums numbering nine. The shrine of Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu is on the second level. The shrines of Adhilakshmi, Dhanyalakshmi and Dharyalakshmi, are located on the first level or floor. The shrines of Santhanalakshmi, Vidyalakshmi, Gajalakshmi and Vijayalakshmi are located on the third floor while the shrine of Dhanalakshmi is located on the fourth floor.

Other shrines in complex

Other than the main shrine, there are other shrines located within the temple complex. The shrine dedicated to the Dhasavathara Sannadhi or the ten forms of Lord Vishnu is located inside the complex. The shrine dedicated to Guruvayurappan is on the south-east side of the complex while on the south-west side stands the shrine dedicated to Kamala Vinayagar Sannadhi. The shrine dedicated to Chakkaratalvar and Yoga Narashimhar Sannadhi is on the west side of the complex and the shrine dedicated to Anjaneyar Sannadhi is on the north-west side. The shrine dedicated to Dhanvantari is situated in the north-west corner of the temple. Inside the temple facing the Main deity is the shrine dedicated to Garudalvar Sannadhi.

Nature of worship

The worship starts with the shrine of the two presiding deities namely Mahalakshmi and Mahavishnu, which is located on the second floor. After the prayers are offered here, a flight of steps take you to the third floor where the shrine of Santhanalakshmi (bestower of children) is located. The shrines of Vidyalakshmi (goddess of wisdom and knowledge), Vijayalakshmi (god of success) and Gajalakshmi (goddess of prosperity) are also here. After completing worship here, you have to take another flight of stairs to go the fourth floor where the shrine of DhanaLakshmi (goddess of wealth) is located. While exiting the temple, you have to pray before the shrines of Adhilakshmi, DhaanyaLakshmi (goddess of food) and Dhariyalakshmi (goddess of courage and strength).

Special events and festivals

The main festivals that are held at this temple are Navaratri, Pavitra Ursavam, Dhanur masaPooja, Gokulastami, Deepavali, Kartigai and Pongal. The Navaratri celebrations go on for ten days when processions are taken out. The Pavitra Ursavam is performed for five days every year when the deities are adorned with garlands and water is poured on the deities from the holy kalasams or pots that were worshipped earlier. It signifies the cleaning of the soul. For the sacred Dhansur Masa Puja performed during Markazhi month, the temple is opened at 5.00 a.m. The Gokulastami or the Sri Krishna Jayanthi is celebrated here with pomp and glory. Electric lights are put up during the Deepavali festival while lamps burning ghee are lighted during the Kartigai festival. Pongal which is the first day in the Tamil calendar, is also celebrated at this temple, with people visiting the temple on the next day to get the blessings of Mahalakshmi and Mahavishnu.

Pilgrimage and tourism

Thousands of pilgrims and devotees from various parts of the country flock to this temple during the different festivals that are held here. Tourists from different parts of the country as well as from foreign lands come to the temple to pay their respects and to look at the architecture of the temple.

Puja timings of temple

A darshan of the goddess can be done as per the Ashtalakshmi Temple timings when it is open from 6.30 a.m. to 12.00 noon. The doors of the temple are also opened at 4.00 p.m,. and remain open till 9.00 p.m. The temple remains open up to 1.00 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The Suprabadham puja starts at 6.30 a.m., and the Visvaroopa Darshan puja starts at 7.00 a.m. The Kaalasandhi puja is done at 8.00 a.m. while the Uchikalam puja is done at 12.00 noon after which the temple is closed. The Syaratche puja takes place at 6.00 p.m. while the Iravu puja is done at 7.30 p.m. The temple closes after the Arthajama puja that is performed at 9.00 p.m.

How To Reach

Visiting the Ashta Lakshmi temple in Chennai is very simple. It means that once you arrive at the city by air, by rail or by road, you can avail of the local buses, auto-rickshaws and taxis to reach the temple. The various modes of transport that you can use to arrive at Chennai are:

 

  • By air - Chennai has a busy international airport that is connected to other cities of the country and outside by both domestic and international flights. A large number of domestic flights from different cities service the airport throughout the morning, afternoon and the evening. From the airport, you can catch a taxi or an auto-rickshaw to take you to the temple.
  • By Rail - Chennai is a very important stop for trains travelling on the Southern Railways section of the Indian Railways. All of the trains coming to Chennai terminate at either the Central railway station or the Egmore railway station. Huge numbers of taxis, auto-rickshaws and buses are available at these stations top take you to the temple.
  • By Road - National Highways and State Highways enable people from other parts of the country to reach Chennai easily by road. Long distance buses are available from major southern cities to come to the city.

 

Additionally, to the modes of transport mentioned above, you can also arrive at the temple premises through taxis and other private transports. Average taxi fares may range around Rs.2500.

Nearby Attractions

The city of Chennai offers its residents a huge array of temples that can cater to their religious sentiments and fervor. While visiting the Ashtalakshmi Temple in Chennai the other places you can visit are:

  • Parthasarathy Temple - This temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, who acted as the charioteer for Lord Arjuna in his fight against the Kauravas. It is one of the 108 holy abodes where Lord Vishnu resides in.
  • Kapaleshwarar Temple - This temple was built in the 7th century in the dedication of Goddess Karpagambal, who is another form of Goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva.
  • Adeeswar Temple - This temple is a replica of the Sabari Mali temple in Kerala where people pray to Lord Iyyappa.
  • Sri Vadapalani Andavar Temple - This temple dedicated to Lord Muruga was renovated in 1920 and made famous by visits from celebrities.
  • Mangadu Kamakshiamman Temple -This temple is dedicated to Kamakshi Amman or the Mother Shakti.
  • Kaligambal temple - The location of this temple was very near the sea shore but was relocated in 1620 as the sea came nearer. It is dedicated to Lord Kamateshwarar.
  • Ayyappan temple - Though this temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappan, Lord Vinayakar, and Lord Subramanian also reside here along with their consorts Valli and Devyani.
  • Thirumalai Tirupati Devasthanam Temple - Dedicated to Lord Venkatachalapathi this temple is situated on a peak on the Venkata Hill or the seventh peak of the Tirumala Hillocks.
  • Shirdi Sai Baba Temple - This temple has been dedicated to Sai Baba of Shirdi.
  • Mathyakailash Temple - Lord Ganesh is the presiding deity of this temple that is visited by hundreds of devotees every day.
  • Marutheeswarar Temple - This temple was built in the 11th century in the dedication of Lord Shiva.
  • Thiruneermalai Vishnu Temple - This temple is also dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is one of 108 places where the Lord resides in.
  • Vedagiriswarar Temple - The temple is located on the top of a hill where Lord Vedagiriswarara or Lord Shiva lives.
  • Anjaneyaswami temple - Te temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman whose 32 feet high statue made out of a single rock is the main attraction.

History Of Temple

As per the Puranas, when the gods churned the ocean in search of the Elixir of eternal life, there were many things that emerged from the sea. Goddess Mahalakshmi came out of the sea carrying the pot that contained the elixir. Lord Narayan immediately married her, so the demons could not get the elixir of eternal life. Goddess Mahalakshmi has the power to grant the Asthama Siddhis or eight achievements and Astha Aisharyam or eight signs of wealth which has been depicted in the temple. It is the only temple dedicated to Mahalakshmi and was built beside the ocean as it is the birthplace of the Goddess.

The eight forms of Mahalakshmi are depicted by the eight portions of the temple. It has been constructed in the form of the figure “Aum” and is called the Omkharakshetra. The temple was built in 1974 and consecrated in 1976. The architecture of the temple is a mixture of Dravidian and contemporary styles. The temple was built by the devotees of Goddess Lakshmi, who is the goddess of wealth, prosperity and success.

The distinguishing feature of this temple is the shrines that represent the presiding deity. There are nine separate shrines depicting Goddess Mahalakshmi. The main shrine of Mahalakshmi and Her consort Mahavishnu is on the Second Floor. The eight shrines of the eight forms of the goddess are spread over the first or ground floor, the third and the four floors. The construction of the temple is such that the shadow of the tower does not fall on the ground. You can buy Ashtalakshmi photos of the temple inside its premises during your visit to the temple.